WTO HITS U.S. IMPORTS: A World Trade Organization arbitration panel said Tuesday that it has given authorization to eight members, including Japan and the European Union, to impose tariffs of more than $150 million a year on U.S. imports. In January 2003, the WTO said U.S. legislation known as the Byrd Amendment, under which U.S. companies filing and winning antidumping and countervailing duties cases received duties collected from countries importing the products, was illegal. Congress was then required to rescind the subsidy but failed to do so. The main recipients of such duties have been in the steel and other metal, household item and food sectors. The WTO has now paved the way for Japan, Brazil, the EU, Canada, Chile, India, South Korea and Mexico to impose sanctions on U.S. imports, which will primarily hit products in the categories aided by the subsidy.
GADZOOKS LOSES CFO: In the midst of Chapter 11 restructuring efforts Gadzooks Inc. has lost its chief financial officer. The Dallas-based company announced that James Motley was resigning effective Sept. 10 in order to join a “private distribution company.” The search for a new cfo, said chairman and chief executive officer Jerry Szczepanski, will begin immediately.
WEATHER WOES: Hudson’s Bay Co. cited lousy weather for a 2.2 percent sales decline in the second quarter, which resulted in a loss as the Canadian retailer was forced to mark down seasonal goods. The loss came in at 10 million Canadian dollars, or $7.4 million, which compares with net earnings of 5 million Canadian dollars, or $3.6 million, in the prior year as sales fell to 1.63 billion, or $1.21 billion, from 1.66 billion, or $1.19 billion. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange. Same-store sales showed a decline of 1.8 percent. George Heller, president and chief executive officer, said that, while the firm’s retail formats experienced “improving sales trends in our first quarter, they were negatively impacted by the lack of demand for seasonal merchandise in the first two months of the second quarter.”
SELFRIDGES SHUFFLE: The Weston family, which bought Selfridges last year, continues to fine-tune its management lineup. Anne Pitcher has been named buying and merchandising director, replacing David Riddiford, who joined Lane Crawford as senior vice president, merchandising, in May. An industry veteran, Pitcher is currently buying director for women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories at rival Harvey Nichols. She starts on Sept. 6, and will report to Paul Kelly, chief executive of Selfridges. A Selfridges spokesman said Pitcher’s role will be wider than Riddiford’s, and will be more customer- and merchandise-focused. Meanwhile, James Bidwell, marketing director at Selfridges, will become strategic projects director at Wittington Fashion Retail Group. Formed earlier this year, WFRG’s brief is to fortify relationships among the department stores in the Weston stable, which include Brown Thomas in Dublin and Holt Renfrew in Canada. Bidwell will report to Wittington’s deputy chairman Allan Leighton. Bidwell will be replaced by Bev Churchill, who is currently head of marketing at the store.